News review of the day – June 3rd

Speech by Prime Minister Victor Ponta at The Bucharest Stock Exchange

The Bucharest Stock Exchange (BVB) has issued today the first series of state bonds for private individuals, a new financial instrument for the Romanian market. Prime Minister Victor Ponta was invited to attend the event and advertise the new product, which is guaranteed by the Government:

PM Victor Ponta: Good morning! I have accepted the invitation launched by The Bucharest Stock Exchange (BVB) at such an early hour in order to try to advertise a new financial instrument that has never been used in Romania. From what I understand, in 2005, there was a state-bond issue for private individuals but not by BVB, so in a way, the event today is a national premiere: the issue of state bonds that can be purchased by private individuals. This is an instrument used very effectively for a very long time now by developed countries and economies. We haven’t used it so far. We should try to explain to private individuals that they can successfully save money by purchasing these state bonds, which are obviously guaranteed by the Government, with an interest rate that is subject to current realities of the market; this is a totally new way to save money for Romanians, the safest way, as money will never be lost. Maybe this is not the most immediate way to make more money but with the current economic growth and increase in income levels we also see a saving trend among Romanians who now have this new instrument, used as I said before, very effectively by all developed countries and economies.
All we have to do now is advertise this instrument, which is the most important thing in market economy. This first issue of bonds comes with only a testing amount for the time being, this is a very low amount, but we hope that people find out about this instrument and we wish they considered it interesting and worth using; of course, should this first issue of state bonds produce effects and more regular people than the usual investors find out about it and use it for their savings, then, we will obviously extend this program and turn it into a widely used instrument by the Romanian state, by the Bucharest Stock Exchange; it is a modern instrument and I reiterate my wish that Romanians learn to get access to it. We are living these times when you can buy state bonds through a simple application, so it is no longer as complicated as it may have seemed a few years ago. We are also witnessing a moment when the middle class – not  all Romanians unfortunately – but the middle class tends to make savings and my wish is that this issue be successful in this respect.
Furthermore, I chose to come here at such and early hour to reaffirm my support – and I think we should all support the development of the securities market in Romania. This is a less approached subject in the public debate, but extremely important for that matter. Development of any economy is dependent on a functional securities market. I have worked together with BVB’s management, with Mr Sobolewski, with Mr Anghel, with Mr Negriţoiu – President of the Financial Supervisory Authority, mainly to amend legislation and to adapt legislation. The existing one was far from leading to a true development of the stock exchange in Romania. We had some palpable results such as the listings of state-owned companies, a successful, dual listing in London and Bucharest and we are determined to fight all the bureaucracy and manage to do the same for Bucharest’s International Airport, Constanta Habor, Romtelecom and minority shares of several other companies. Of course, Hidroelectrica, the crown jewel – financial journalists here might ask, with good reason, why the listing of such a company, making the largest profit ever, takes so long?
In 2014, Hidroelectrica…if I am not wrong, yielded dividends worth 1 billion Ron. […]Now, Romania’s most profitable company in the energy sector is trapped in a series of lawsuits and we are struggling to get it out of insolvency by 2016 and list it on the stock exchange. Alongside Justice Minister, I have asked the Bucharest’s Municipal Court to find a way to speed up the procedure meant to get this company out of insolvency as I think its listing will be even more successful than Romgaz’s or Transgaz’s or all other state-owned companies listed so far.
So, my presence here was first of all meant to advertise the new state bonds which represent the safest investment for the population – not the most profitable on the short term, but the safest – and second of all to reiterate my support by legislative measures, by company listings, by attending all extraordinary events organized to promote Romania, even in New York or London – there is an extraordinary interest for Romania, people want to invest in Romania and we don’t always know how to open the door properly. And we also don’t know how to set the table properly, so to speak, as many private investors and investment funds see Romania at this moment as the best choice in all Eastern Europe. It is true, unfortunately, our neighbors are in trouble, but this is how life always goes, we have also had our troubles and others took advantage of that. I think we should make the best of this moment and welcome the money waiting to come to Romania in order to help our economy develop; and we can do this together – Financial Supervisory Authority, Government, Stock Exchange.
I can make long speeches even in the morning as you can see. It was important however, as we talked about rather palpable and technical aspects. I want to reiterate that the Cabinet will continue to do its best on its side as this is a good thing for the medium and long term. I finally hope that 2016 will bring that upgrade you have talked about all these years and for which we had to amend legislation. We have to continue listing companies and BVB should become a significant regional stock exchange. Thank you and good luck!

Romania can produce food for 35 million persons – World Bank conference

Romania can produce food for 35 million persons and is a significant actor on a European and global level in this sector, according to Agriculture Minister Daniel Constantin, who also stated at a conference today that Romania’s main challenge is to integrate feedstocks and to export processed products.
Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry has organized a conference in partnership with the World Bank called „The Medium- and Long-term Vision: Transforming Agriculture and Rural Development in Romania”, aiming to stimulate a broad public discussion on the current challenges and future goals, in relation to the long-term global and European trends.
World Bank’s experts have established a target within the long-term agricultural strategy that, by 2030, 80 percent of Romania’s produce exports consist in processed products. Lead agricultural economist at the World Bank, Holger Kray, has pointed out during the same meeting that agriculture is a sector of the future which is going to see significant development due to world population growth, Radio Romania reported.

Former manager of Romania’s railway company CFR sentenced to 10 years in prison

Former manager of Romania’s railway company CFR, Mihai Necolaiciuc, was sentenced to 10 years in prison today. He was accused of abuse of office and damages brought to the company worth 56 million euros. The sentence can still be appealed, Radio Romania reported.

Unemployment rate in Romania went up in April

Unemployment rate in Romania went up by 0.1% in April against the previous month reaching 6.9 percent, according to the latest data by the National Institute of Statistics. Unemployment rate in men is 1.6% higher than in women. However, the number of unemployed persons in April went slightly down against the same month in 2014, Radio Romania reported.

Radio Romania leads editorial campaign dedicated to vaccination

Radio Romania is leading an editorial campaign between June 1-5 aiming to properly inform parents on vaccination and its impact on public health, as well as pointing out possible side effects, risks and reasons for which some parents choose ever so often not to vaccinate their children. Vaccination rate in Romania has dropped under 90%, according to the latest statistics as parents fear the risks, but doctors are warning that not all information spread on the Internet is trustworthy and correct. Many websites and blogs are leading a parallel campaign advising parents to refuse vaccination. What are, however, the experts’ opinions? All stations of the public radio joined this editorial project called „Vaccine for Life” trying to analyze in their shows the aspects of this problem in Romania and to offer objective and thorough information to help parents be aware when they make a decision.

Bianca Ioniţă